The “tablet-fication” of websites is a plague and a curse.

Dumbed down becomes SOP, the lowest common denominator rules, and Buzzfeeders rule the world.


16 October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

Why do some campaign types think that I would be interested in emails “From: [somebody]‘s iPhone”?

It’s not cute. It’s not clever. It’s not even mildly amusing.

It’s stupid and silly.

07 October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

How many folks fall for the shysters who try to sell them subscription renewals for publications to which they do not subscribe?

I got one today to renew my subscription to a newspaper that is not my local rag. (It’s the local rag for folks who live on the other side of the James.) It’s good rag, but it’s not my rag, and I’m not ponying up $360+ for it.

05 October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Geek Stuff, Personal Musings

According to El Reg, Facebook wants to be your doctor.

The company – in recent months – has apparently been considering the development of “preventative care” apps. Additionally, it has also been locked in tentative talks with medical bods and entrepreneurs, the news wire reported.

Facebook wants to swerve criticism about privacy, apparently, by releasing its first health app under a different name, which New York’s drag community might shrill at given the recent backlash the social network suffered over anonymity.

In this case, “M. D.” means “More Data.” Facebook is looking for new ways to spy on you so as to better serve you–better serve you ads, that is.

Why people who willingly run naked through Facebook and Google and their like scream their heads off about the NSA without seeing the contradictions is beyond me.

01 October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

In There’s a House in the Land (Where a Band Can Take a Stand), Shaun Mullen revisits the 1970s, that armpit of a decade that gave us leisure suits, adjustable rate mortgages, and, ultimately, Ronald Reagan. He tells of his time living at a group home (no, not that kind of group home–a home in which a group of persons drawn together by coincidence and the need for a place to live resided) on a farm in southeastern Pennsylvania The names and places have been changed to protect the innocent, but the events come alive in this memoir.

The book opens with Shaun’s arrival at the farm and closes with his departure. Other than that, it is in no way chronological, but, rather, thematic, focusing on the persons who lived at and visited the farm and the events they shaped and which shaped them. Shaun brings them to life, drawing you into their lives in this episodic narrative.

Were you to try to outline the book in a “topic outline” (remember topic outlines?), it would appear to ramble. It winds from gardens to goats, from music to musings, from parties to pub crawls. The lack of chronology leads to a sense of timelessness, as if the farm were suspended, like Brigadoon, in its own time and place.

The memories, though, are not all happy and the people are not all nice. There is death and injury and sadness, as comes to all lives, all told matter-of-factly and humanely.

Despite its generally light-hearted tone, the book is tinged with darkness. It is peopled with Viet Nam veterans recovering from that pointless, stupid war; wounded souls fleeing broken homes or relationships, transients passing through looking for their own healing spot. Some of them find it; some don’t. All become real.

Read the book.


Thanks to YouTube’s new practice of force-feeding advertisements, I have realized that I will never ever do business of any sort with “Mass Mutual,” nor wear “Android Wear.”

25 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

The word “homeland” has a poisoned history. I’ve never liked it, as I have documented elsewhere in these electrons.

Thom discusses its creepy history.

14 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

According to the pastor of the Union Street Brick Church, He didn’t. We did. A nugget (emphasis added; also feel free to substitute “fate” or ‘karma” or some other term if the word “God” gives you discomfort):

One minute we’re accusing the government of being stupid and incompetent, the next we’re generating stories of super-controlling plans to bring about slavery and the end of democracy. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.

If God doesn’t hold us responsible for things we do when we’re crazy, then what about when a whole society, or societies, goes crazy together? To ask the question Firesign Theatre asked 43 years ago, “Are we all bozos on this bus?”

I say we are. I think we have exceeded our capacity to act rationally in our own best interests (the premise of capitalism), or to act with love in the interests of others (the premise of Christianity). We are failing to take responsibility for our actions as humans, and we are of a mind to blame God for all of it. To destroy ourselves and the world God gave us, and to blame God (for what? for giving us life and what was a paradise in the first place?) is the height of smug paranoia, and it can only lead to further destruction.

Sometimes, random bad stuff just happens. Too often, persons do bad stuff because they think that harming others will benefit them.

There is such a thing as evil, and it is man-made.


The persons who do bad stuff concoct elaborate theories to convince others and themselves that they are doing good stuff. Such theories are commonly referred to as “the Laffer Curve,” “Libertarianism,” “Reaganomics,” and “Neoconservatism,” to mention but a few examples.

11 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

Having an Amazon account has from time to time been useful, but I must find a way to send all email from “” to /dev/null. Amazon has found a way to make the Nigerian email scam look like a model of internet integrity in comparison.

In other news, if I receive another email from a Democratic cause marked “Urgent” or with a subject line starting with “Re” when there is no “Re” or wanting a $3.00 contribution, I shall scream. I won’t stop supporting Democrats, because I live in the real world, but I shall most certainly scream.

25 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

American Exceptionalism, n.: The propensity of the United States of America and its citizens to except themselves from accountability for their actions. See Viet Nam, Nicaragua, Granada, slavery, Jim Crow, asbestos, tar sands, fly ash, Halliburton, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, NSA, CIA, Ferguson, Birmingham, British Petroleum, Monsanto, DDT, honey bees . . . . .

13 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

Am I the only person who finds Christian Mingle’s (no link–look it up yourself) ad campaign vaguely blasphemous?

10 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

We watched Sharknado yesterday. It was riveting in a way, keeping one wondering what the next bit of fantastickal stupid might be. I cannot say that “it was so bad it was good,” but it was so bad it was amusing.

Driftglass is fond of saying (I’m paraphrasing here) that what distinguishes science fiction from other genres is the science.

By that standard, Sharknado is not science fiction; it’s fictional science.

05 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

Q. What do you get when you cross a Prius and a Scion?

26 June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

At DL, I noticed that the bar telly vision was tuned to ESPN #something-or-other, where a big deal was being made of the NBA draft (mercifully, the sound was turned off), which, as my mother would have said, is the biggest nothing, indeed a biggest nothing of the highest order. It means nothing until the first tip-off of the next NBA season, which I intend to ignore as I have ignored all the preceding NBA seasons since Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld retired.

We have a media that makes somethings out of nothings, while real somethings (for example) go ignored.

We are awash in stupid.


25 June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

A bicycle ride on trash day in the heat of the summer can be an olfactory adventure.

21 June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

We are sharing a flat with Sheddinger’s cat.

19 June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

The phrase “Twitter conversation” is an oxymoron.

12 June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

The movie, A Christmas Story, has become an American Christmas standard, played over and over on cable television during the Christmas season.

How many persons know that it is a conflation of several stories by Jean Shepherd, humorist, author, and raconteur, who is the faceless narrator of the movie?

I first encountered his stories in Playboy (Yes, Playboy is at the link and, yes, I still read the articles–they beat the hell out of Time and what’s left of Newsweek; if you must know, I start with jokes, then go to the cartoons), which I started reading as soon as I turned 15, got my drivers license (the times were different then), and could purchase the magazine at the White Brothers pharmacy in Accomack County. Then I learned that “Shep” had a radio show on WOR in New York City, when WOR was a legitimate radio station, long before it became a wingnut talker.

When the weather conditions were correct and the family dinner concluded before 6 p. m., I used to catch his broadcasts on the skip (look it up). They were a joy to listen to. You could never anticipate where he might go.

You can listen to many of his shows here. (Lorenzo deserves our thanks for all he has done to make Old Time Radio accessible. I’ve traded emails with him. He is Good People.)

Shep deserves remembrance; he was an American Original.

03 June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

Why is it that, when Facebook et al. spy on you and sell your data to third parties to make money, it’s okay, but when the NSA spies on you and keeps your data secret, it’s a scandal?

01 June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Personal Musings

I think I’ve figured out why hipsters prefer the Yassar Arafat look those silly beards that look like three days’ stubble.

They think it’s cool to look as if they’ve stayed up in their Mom’s basement all weekend playing World of Warcraft and flirting with Siri while forgetting to shave.